Contractor: Mast Construction Company Inc
Structural Engineers: Meyer Borgman Johnson, Mike Ramerth, Engineer of Record, Rollie Johnson
Text description provided by the architects. Site: Located on Two Bear Lake in Wisconsin, a small, deep, spring-fed lake, formerly a Boy Scout camp, the entire property was developed in the 1980’s, and covenants protect the peacefulness and quality of the area through, among other restrictions, prohibiting gasoline-powered motors on the water. The small cabin unfolds toward the lake and is sited to take advantage of the southern view across a small bay toward the open water beyond. Tall Birch trees shelter the cabin from the southern sun, and enliven the façade with playful, shifting shadows.
Design: Built as a retreat from the city, where this couple with three children resides, this modern cabin is designed with nature in mind, and creating exterior spaces which enlarge the home and surround it with the outdoors. The main level is oriented axially toward the lake, with the upper level positioned transversely to the lower level, creating sheltered exterior spaces off the main living areas. The western porch soaks up the afternoon sun in the shoulder seasons, while the screened eastern porch offers shelter from the heat of the summer. The upper level deck offers wonderful views of the lake, and the owners have found it perfect for early morning reading, nature watching, and late afternoon cocktails and snacks.
Views are carefully framed throughout the space with windows placed to provide views to the rock gardens and the lake. Native plantings throughout the rock gardens are chosen to provide additional habitat for butterflies, birds, and other fauna, and it is common to see hummingbirds sipping nectar from flowering shrubs planted just outside the main level glazing.
Sustainability: Throughout the cabin, sustainability is subtly incorporated, from solar orientation to the use of materials. Exposed reclaimed Douglas Fir framing and sheathing provide wonderful warmth and character to the interior, and expansive coated glazing on the south provides lake views plus generous solar gain in winter, while being largely shaded by towering birches in summer. The extremely efficient wood burning stove coupled with the sun keeps the entire cabin comfortable even in mid-winter.